After four consecutive defeats, FC Augsburg have secured a valuable point at home to FC Schalke 04. A feisty encounter ended in a 1-1 draw.
FCA head coach Manuel Baum made three changes to the side that last 1-0 in Leverkusen last weekend. Jonathan Schmid, Ja-Cheol Koo and Marco Richter came into the starting lineup and replaced Raphael Framberger, André Hahn and Caiuby respectively.
Augsburg started the match by pressing in attack. After Amine Harit (6’) and Michael Gregoritsch (8’) had both gone close, FCA created their first clear chance of the match in the 11th minute. After a clever backheel from Alfred Finnbogason, Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann was forced into action to deny Rani Khedira. Moments later, FCA were rewarded for their strong start as Fährmann failed to clear a Philipp Max cross. Gregoritsch was on hand to head the ball home from close range and open the scoring (13’). This was FCA’s 300th Bundesliga goal.
The hosts continued to press as they went in search of a second goal. Richter was denied by Fährmann (18’) before Ja-Cheol Koo went close (25’). Augsburg dropped deeper when they didn’t have possession and compressed the space in and around their penalty area. Much of the play took place in the Schalke half as Augsburg prevented the visitors from having too much space. FCA carried their narrow lead into half-time as neither side were able to create any more clear cut chances.
Caligiuri equalises – chances for both teams
The hosts started the second half with more momentum but were not able to make the most of some brilliant attacks. Instead, Schalke drew level in the 53rd minute. FCA goalkeeper Andreas Luthe made a smart save but the ball fell to Daniel Caligiuri just outside the penalty area. The wing-back was able to drill the ball into the far bottom corner. Augsburg were not put off by the equaliser, instead continuing to attack. Gregoritsch fired a shot narrowly wide of the far post (59’) before Jonathan Schmid forced Fährmann into a save at the near post from a free-kick (61’).
Schalke grew in confidence as the second half progressed and much of the action was in the centre third of the pitch. It was a very even match as both teams tried to find the breakthrough. Fährmann denied Gregoritsch once again from a header (69’) before rushing out of goal to beat substitute Hahn to the ball (80’). At the other end, Amine Harit fired a shot narrowly wide (79’) before Luthe denied Royal-Blues substitute Ahmed Kutucu (81’). Both teams made too many mistakes in attack as the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Schalke did create one last chance in stoppage time but Nabil Bentaleb could only blaze the free-kick over the bar.
FC Augsburg have two more matches before Christmas and the Bundesliga winter break. FCA travel to Hertha BSC on Tuesday night (20:30 CET) before hosting VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday (15:30 CET) in their final home clash of 2018.